Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's A Wonderful Feeling To Trust In God's Perfect Plan

Hi family and friends!  (9-15-14 Email)

You get my email now haha sorry we went bowling with some people today, so our Pday has been a bit crazy. But it has been quite a week! Haha lots of changes and adjusting to do, but it is good.

The last few days in Liahona 1st were really good, such a great way to end it off. I got to say goodbye to everyone, and in my last hour there we found 3 new investigators. It was hard to leave, but I know its all God's plan so I am good with it. So crazy the sisters told me on Sunday they released the bishop over there, so it will be a completely different ward now!

Then Wednesday we had transfer meeting and here I am at Liahona 4th with Hna Brons and Hna Taboada! We have a huge ward (share it with 2 other companionships) and a big area. They all seem super nice, but it is so hard to remember who they all are! I accidentally started re-introducing myself to people because I forgot that I had already met them haha. I am excited to help this ward and get to know everyone. Right now we don't really have any progressing investigators, so we are going to be focusing on finding. There's a ton of potential here, so as long as we can get to work it shouldn't be a problem. There are a lot of recent converts in our area so we are also focusing on retention and working a lot with them. So please pray that we can find the people that God is preparing to receive the gospel.

On Saturday all of the missionaries came together with the city officials from Mesa to do a service project for the flood victims. Apparently the rainstorm on Monday is the most rain Mesa has seen in 100 years. It seemed pretty normal to me coming from Seattle, but apparently it was a big deal haha and a lot of houses or things got ruined. We drove past one park that was like in a little valley and it was so flooded that people were swimming and kayaking in it. It was the craziest thing! So 

On Saturday we went house to house (about 200 of us) and helped as many people as we could. In the parts that we went to, most people had already finished taking out the old stuff by that point, but we were able to help a few people so that was nice. And we got to help Gina and Vanessa - were Vanessa excitedly told me that she will be getting baptized on October 11th! (oh and angel is Andre getting baptized on Sunday! yay!) But it was so cool to see so many of us going all around the city helping and serving and just trying to make people's lives better.

My companions are so fun. Hna T is from Bolivia and has been out for about a year. She is so cute and sweet. Being in a trio is fun. I love both of my companions so much! Sooo happy to be with both of them! And our roommates are fun too! Let me say though it has been quiet an adjustment going from mellow, quiet Hna Hurd for 4+ months to being around 4 loud social people all the time haha. It is fun, but I am just trying to figure out how I can help inspire more diligent work so we can get out there and see miracles! 

Roomies and Comps!
And our room..... :)
I am learning a lot about my own weaknesses and the things that God wants me to change about myself. Learning how to develop more charity, self-esteem, how to not be a control freak/perfectionist, how to be an example, etc. I am learning a lot and just trying to figure out the role God wants me to play, and the person that God wants me to become. 

I got a cold/sinus infection this week so I had a really fuzzy head and made me feel like I couldn't think clearly at all, but I am in the recovery stage of it now, so feeling better. 

I know that I am here for a reason and with these people for a reason as well. God needs us to teach and strengthen each other. It is the most wonderful feeling to have that trust in God's perfect plan and love because I never have to worry when I know I am where He wants me to be. I just have to do my best to live His gospel and serve His children. I am trying to learn to love people the way that Heavenly Father loves me. His love is perfect, fulfilling, and unconditional. I am so grateful that I can always rely on that.

I love you all so much and am so grateful for your love and support. You are all wonderful!

con amor,
Hermana Haynes
Haha new finding technique - lemonade stand giving free Water of Life!
Mexico Independence Day party.  Maybe I was having too much fun haha!

P-Day bowling and pizza!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

We Told Him To Pray and Look in the Book Of Mormon For Guidance

Hola familia! (Email of 9-8-14)

This has been one of the best weeks ever. It was so great. I just feel so humbled and blessed to be able to see God working so clearly in these people's lives and to be able to be a part of that is absolutely amazing. Thanks for all of your prayers, they are paying off!

So we have been worried about Vanessa and Gina's progress lately, so last Sunday we fasted that they would be able to come to church and start progressing. Then on Monday we had a lesson about having faith to be obedient and were pretty bold about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy and figuring out a way to do that. We extended them the date of Oct 11th and asked them to exercise their faith to be able to meet that goal. We prayed hard for that, and when we came back on Friday, Vanessa told us that she talked more with her boss and officially has the 21st and the 28th off of work and they are going to see about the possibility of giving her more! It was such a miracle, and one of the most obvious results of a fast that I have seen in my life. It was such a great testimony builder. We reviewed the Restoration, and Gloria really seemed to understand it better and the importance of it, especially the restoration of the Priesthood. I love them both so much and just want the very best for them.

Andre is absolutely amazing. I wish I could describe him in words, but I can't. The most prepared person I have ever met. We met with him almost everyday this week. On Wednesday, he was very upset about some family/financial problems he was facing and he couldn't even focus because he was so worried about it. We told him to pray sincerely and to look in the Book of Mormon The Book of Mormon for guidance, that God would speak to him through the book. When we met with him again on Friday,  he was bursting with joy and couldn't wait to get started so that he could show us the answers he found through the Book of Mormon. The verses were perfect and exactly what he needed to keep going. And his prayers were answered and everything with his family was resolved. I never have met someone who is so devoted and motivated by his family before. Everything that he does is for them. It is so hard for him to be away from them right now, but they are his motivation right now. He had us talk to his 7 year old son on the phone yesterday and it was the sweetest thing ever. His little son was telling me all about how he is already a missionary, asked to share his testimony with me (where he basically taught me the Plan of Salvation The Plan Of Salvation) and thanked me for supporting his family. I told Andre that I am going to Mexico when their family gets sealed, so can we please make that happen? Andre is so excited to get baptized and wants to do it ASAP. The only thing really holding us back is that we have to get through all of the lessons haha. But he said he is going to do absolutely everything to meet with us, and he is keeping that true.

On Saturday he was a few minutes late to our lesson, and he came in a few minutes late and introduced us to his 12 year old daughter (his only child that he has here, from a previous marriage). We thought, no big deal, but he felt really bad about coming late (and he was late because he was at an elder's quorum activity). The next day at church he just casually mentions to us that yesterday was the first time he had seen his daughter in 3 years and that his ex never lets him see her. I was shocked! I was like, you know that would have been a perfectly reasonable excuse to cancel the lesson! But he wants to keep every single commitment, and really wants to share the gospel with his daughter as well. He is sooo amazing!

We met with Anna pretty often this week too. She is actually progressing now! She read every little assignment we gave her in the Book of Mormon this week, and actually learned from them! And she came to sacrament meeting yesterday. She will probably be getting baptized on the 20th with Andre! Ahhhh I am just so blessed. I literally have the world's best investigators.

And then the Perez family, Gregorio and Mandi. We found the perfect member fellowshipper for them, who is doing a great job explaining things to them about her conversion, and being a friend to them. They are just the cutest little family. 

At the beginning of the week, they didn't want to come to church because they already have their own church. But as we reviewed the restoration again, they understood the difference better. But what really got them was the Plan of Salvation. They absolutely loved it. It was a very special lesson and you could tell that those eternal doctrines were ringing true to them, coming back to their remembrance. At the end of the lesson, we invited them to church again, and Gregario said that he wants to come and check it out, because he felt like he has never learned or understood anything about religion in any other place, but that he feels like he is learning so much with us. Mandi wants to come too, but has work. They didn't end up coming this week, but I think next week they will. They are just the sweetest family.

On Saturday we got transfer news! You are neverrr going to expect what happened! I was so surprised. I got transferred! And the Brons is back! Haha we are companions again! AND we are with Hermana Taboada too! TRIOOO. We will be serving in the Liahona 4th ward (so now I will officially have been in all the Liahona wards in the mission). The Liahona 4th ward is a great ward, I have heard so many good things about it and have had 2 exchanges there already. They are both already serving in that ward, Hna Brons will just be switching to a different area within the same ward (right now she is with Hna Leon in a different part of L4). But Hna Leon and her new companion, Hna Greene, are going to be our roommates, so that will be really fun. It will be 3 generations in one apartment! My mama, my baby, and me! I am super excited and think it will be a great transfer. Oh, and I am still Sister Training Leader, just one of my companionships that I am over got switched. With that though, I am completely heartbroken to be leaving the Liahona 1st ward. It is always such a bittersweet thing. This ward has captured my heart and everyday here has felt so special. The members and the investigators are absolutely amazing. But instead of feeling sad, I am just trying to stay grateful that I have had the opportunity to serve in this area and meet such wonderful people and to be the witness to so many miracles. It has been some of the greatest transfers of my mission here in this area. I feel like I have grown so much as a missionary, especially as a teacher here. I have learned so much and it has been so great seeing the fruits of our labors. I know Hna Hurd and her new companion, Hna Ricks, are going to do so great here. And I cannot wait to get invited to the baptisms they will have!

I know that God is my Heavenly Father and that He has a plan for my life, that I can't see completely and don't understand all the way. But I know that His plan is perfect. So as I learn to truly trust Him and just take those steps forward in faith. It always works out. He always has a perfect plan of love. I know He hears and answers our prayers and blesses us with the things that we need. Never forget that!

I love you all so much!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
Just hanging out on a couch in Mesa!
Ate something with a face this week.  That was a first!

Actually tasted pretty good!

Me and Hna. Hurd with our bishop.  He's the best ever!

We Talked About How To Recognize The Holy Ghost

Dear family and friends, (from 9-1-14 email)

Wow I cannot believe how fast time goes by! Is it really P-Day again? Is it really SEPTEMBER??? Holy cow. Anyways we had a super busy week, but it was so great! Monday was the mission conference, Tuesday was P-Day, Wednesday we went to the temple, and Thursday I had MLC. So our schedule was really crazy and we had to keep busy, but it was great.

I have to tell you about Andre! He is the biggest miracle of the week (of my life?. Our ward mission leader has been telling us about him since we got here, but we didn't have any of his contact information, but last Sunday he came to church so we got to meet him! He is here working, and all of his family in Mexico are members (wife and children). His daughter has her mission call and everything. He has decided that he is ready to change and to commit, and he is dying to be sealed to his family. He told us he wants to get baptized as soon as possible and that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get there. He has already come to church twice, we have taught him multiple times this week, and he came to a baptismal service and the Joseph Smith movie. Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Resoration He is amazing. He is reading the Book of Mormon and really trying to understand and learn from it. I think he is the most prepared and committed person I have ever taught before. He has the craziest background story and has been through so much in his life, but knows he can change and overcome anything and everything through Christ. He is such an inspiration and example to me! He will most likely be baptized on the 13th!

We also were able to teach Gregorio and Mandi twice this week. They really are so great. Mandi says she has felt different since she met us, much more peace. We taught them the Restoration and then the next time we read the Intro to the Book of Mormon. Apostle's Introduction to the Book of Mormon with them and talked about prayer and how to recognize the Holy Ghost. They seemed to understand it fairly well. They are excited to learn, but are pretty busy, and she has to work on Sundays :( but I know they will have great potential! Mandi has been reading a little from the Book of Mormon and says she feels very good as she reads it.   

We also started teaching the Ramirez family again this week! Yay!!! This family is so special to me (I feel like I say that about everyone... but it is true! I don't know how else to describe it!) They seem much more committed this time around, which is so great. They all told us that friends & family are trying to get them to not learn with us or to go to church, but they say that they know what they want to do and are sticking with it, and asked us for advice on how to deal with situations like that. They still aren't super excited about going to the assigned ward, and would prefer to attend the ward where their friends are. Hna Hurd did a great job explaining how it is the gospel that is true, and that the wards will always change. They were all going to go home after Sacrament to pick up one of their daughters from work, but Alexia (the mom), and Sophia (a daughter)decided to stay. And I was so proud of them! But also felt horrible because it was 5th Sunday and the entire third hour was about building security and how temple attendance is lacking.... It was so long and not uplifting. I just felt really bad that she exercised her faith to stay longer, but then it wasn't much reward. But Sophia really like attending Young Women's so that was good. We had a couple good lessons with them this week and they seem to be getting it. They really want to commit, but they are scared of the changes and how new everything is and that they don't understand everything. I really wish that they would let us bring members to the lessons so that they could have more friends and support through the process. Please pray for them!

And the temple on Wednesday was just wonderful. There is nothing better than being able to sit and reflect in the celestial room. 

Oh,we had 3 baptisms in our ward this weekend! One was an 8 year old girl, one was an 8 year old convert, and one was an older convert. It was so great! Really, I am so happy. I love the people here so much, and I am trying to love them better. I have been studying love and charity lately and I am trying to develop a more Christ-like love. A love that is purely selfless and without looking for personal gain or anything. Also an unconditional love, that no matter what comes my way, how they disappoint me or may hurt me, I can love them the same and still think positive, compassionate thoughts. I am not there yet, but I am working on it. I love the perfect example Christ has given us though in His love for us. He never gets tired of the silly mistakes that we do, and He is always there with his arms outstretched. I am so grateful that He can love me like that, and love all of my brothers and sisters in that way as well.

Well, family, I do love YOU! I miss you so much and am always praying for you! I hope that everyone is doing well and enjoying life! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
Hna. Hurd and I
Sisters in my district (Hna Lund and Hna Alcocer. They are both the best)
My whole district.
Me and my comp!
A job for Elder Glazier.  I saw this and thought it was really funny haha. Missionary humor!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

God Sent Us To Them For A Reason

Hola Familia Y Amigo!   (8-26-14 Email)

We had such an amazing week this week! We kept busy!! Just a bunch of inspiring things happened. I don't know where to start haha.

This week I had 3 exchanges with the sisters that I am over, so I wasn't in my area very much. I am grateful that I can count on Hna. Hurd to handle things without me. She took good care of our area, but I feel like I haven't seen our investigators very much because of it!

However, although we had little time in our area, we were able to find 8 new investigators this week. MIRACLES. I have to tell you about one family, because they are so special to me. Their names are Gregoro y Mandi. They have 3 young kids. Sunday we went to visit Anna and to encourage her to go to church. While we were out we invited this random man to come to church with us. He said he would (but he didn't) He lived in apt #7 in front of the red truck. So after church we went to visit him because he wasn't there.  When we got there,the red truck was gone and we couldn't find an apt #7. So we started knocking, in a few different complexes, any door that had a 7 in the number haha. (we found a guy that just moved here from Vietnam and I was wishing you were there to translate Ti! All I could remember was how to say thank you haha.) Anyways, by the 4th door, Gerardo answers and tells us he doesn't like going to church, but then invites us in. He told us he was doing "mas o menos" and we asked why. He said he has been feeling weird vibes lately and that they had been fighting more in their family lately. We promised them the gospel would bring them light and peace to their family and that this was what they needed to find what they were looking for. 

We asked to sing a hymn and sang Nearer My God to Thee.By the end, Mandi was in tears. The Spirit was so strong. We had to run to dinner, but we invited them to watch the Joseph Smith movie: Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Resoration with us that night at the Visitor's Center and they said they would. So they never showed up for the movie, but Craig came and enjoyed it. Right as we were done talking to Craig, Gerardo and Mandi walked into the Visitor's Center with their family.

We didn't have much time, but we walked them through "God's Plan for His Family" (a really cute video type thing that basically shows a normal family living the gospel), and they absolutely loved it. We talked a little bit about temples/eternal families/the Restoration.

The Spirit was seriously so strong. And they told us that we were angels sent to them from God, that we had showed up in the middle of a big fight, and that they know that God sent us to them for a reason.

Please pray for them. They are so wonderful. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father knows each of us and sets up the way to put the people that we need on our paths. He truly does have His hand in the details of our lives. So often we overlook it, but He is so involved with us individually.

The exchanges this week went very well. I went to their areas and so I got to do English work for my first time! It is very different than Spanish work, but I enjoyed it. We ran into some Spanish speakers while we were out, so I was able to talk with them too. The sisters that I work with are so great. They are in different situations, and some of them are really going through a hard times right now. I am trying to figure out what I can best do to help them and strengthen them. I think talking with them through the exchange and helping them see things through a different perspective and come up with new ideas/solutions really helped. It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed getting to know the sisters better. 
Exchanges with Sis. T & Sis. Grow
Dad, you asked what exactly I do as an Sister Training Leader. I am over two companionships and my companion, and I are basically here to help handle any "sister issues" (things that would be inappropriate to have their District Leaders or Zone Leaders help with - companion struggles, whatever it may be). I do trainings through exchanges and anything else that might be helpful for them. Normally I call up and check on goals and progress. I can also help train on other things as well if they need it such as planning, finding, etc. Honestly, still trying to figure out exactly what I am supposed to do and how to best do it because I didn't really receive any training on this assignment and can't talk about it too much with my comp because I have to keep things confidential. I think I am starting to get a better idea, but wish I could have gotten more involved at the beginning of the transfer. But we can't be perfect from the beginning, right? I just really want to help and serve these sisters, to uplift and inspire them. They are all so great.

Ok I know this email is super long, but we just had a great week! And it's not done yet haha. Yesterday we had MLC and Mission Tour with Elder Schwitzer and his wife from the Quorum of the 70. I can't even explain how amazing it was. I feel so blessed to have 2 intimate trainings with General Authorities within 2 weeks. I am learning so much. I wish I could explain and share everything that I learned, but yesterday I was in meetings for 8 hours, and it is pretty hard to reiterate all of that. Ultimately, what I learned was the importance of truly having unconditional love for other people. And with that love, I must listen sincerely to every word that they say, and have every word that comes out of my mouth mean something. I need to give more of myself to them. Listening and speaking with love and sincerity is a powerful tool. It's how human souls interact and touch one another. And as we can show these people just how much their souls mean to us, they will be able to see that. And as they feel that the words that I speak come from the conviction of my soul, it will touch their soul. I feel like I learned things that I cannot teach, and I am still trying to absorb it all. I am so grateful for these special opportunities.

I feel so humbled by the great love that Heavenly Father has for me and for each of us. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and our personal Savior as well.

I love you and am so grateful for each and every one of you! (and thanks for reading this whole thing!)

Con amor, Hermana Haynes
Nothing like running in the rain!
Look!  They're growing little watermelons!
Hna P had her baby!